The Student Activist Alliance was created to empower students in Portland, Oregon and the surrounding counties.
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Following massive budget cuts in 2002 that threatened to ruin the district, the SAA staged a district-wide student walkout, getting coverage across the country.
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Sisters in Action for Power was an inter-generational, multi-racial, community-based organization in Portland, Oregon. They sought to develop the leadership, organizing and critical analysis skills of low income women and girls ages 10-18 in North and Northeast Portland.
Working to build and strengthen the leadership development and organizing skills of low income women and girls of color, in the 2003-04 school year they worked with the Portland Public School District to establish and implement a district-wide system for tracking and reporting sexual harassment.
In 2001-02, another campaign pressured Portland’s TriMet mass transit system to give free bus rides to and from school to low-income students. Sisters also helped spur TriMet to establish a Citizens Advisory Committee of Transportation Equity.
From 2003 to 2012, the Oregon Department of Education operated the State Superintendent’s Youth Advisory Team (YAT).
Made up of a diverse group of students from around the state, YAT members combined their experiences in the public school system with information relating to significant educational issues to inform the Department of student views and concerns. YAT met five times a year to address specific educational concerns and develop policy recommendations.
Then-Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Castillo established the YAT with 20-25 students annually. Student members ranged from 8th grade through college freshmen.
Students were prepared by being sent relevant information and readings on the issues that were addressed at the meeting. Expert guests came to the meetings and students were asked to make recommendations.
The YAT addressed issues ranging from high school reform and Oregon’s Certificate of Advanced Mastery, changes in graduation requirements to better prepare students for college and work, and school safety. YAT has made recommendations on all these topics to the Oregon Department of Education.
- YAT Archives – Includes past member rosters, meeting schedules and agendas, and related materials.
In Oregon, the Portland Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council is comprised of student body presidents and/or their representatives from every middle and high school in the city. Several SuperSAC members have been integral members of the district’s strategic planning core team and other committees. A student representative to the Portland School Board is chosen every year.
According to the Portland School District, all middle and high school students are invited to “help shape the future of Portland Public Schools through the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council.”
Here are facts about students on school boards in Oregon.
Local School Boards
- In 1972, the Oregon state department of education reported that they encouraged local school boards to consider roles for students on school boards.
- Today, students can join district school boards but cannot vote. Each district decides how they want to select students, and appoint representatives once they are selected.
- In Oregon, most local boards appoint student representatives.
State Board of Education
- Students in Oregon cannot vote on the state school board.
Oregon School Board Association
- Students are not formal members of the state school board association, and do not receive specific training to support their involvement.
- Districts are allowed to send student board representatives to the state school board association leadership conference.